Ski like a girl? Excellent! Little Mountain Lake is where you need to be the weekend of August 27 to 28. It’s not actually important to ski like a girl, but being a woman age 30 or older is required to enter the inaugural Queens Cup tournament near Charlotte, North Carolina, aka the Queen City. Sponsored by Race City Marine of NASCAR-rich Mooresville, North Carolina, and towed by Nautique, the cash-and-prizes event will be open to women who ski in 30-, 32- and 34-mph age groups.
It’s a first-of-its-kind tournament, designed to parallel the men’s Big Dawg World Tour and give women an opportunity to take center stage at an elite, world-record ski site. It will also provide women something to train for beyond one-round events like regionals and nationals, which typically have low turnouts in women’s divisions. With a projected field of 35 high-ranking skiers, the Queens Cup will have a guaranteed two-round minimum, with qualifying rounds leading to a Sweet 16 head-to-head Sunday final. It’s entirely possible that a 50-something skier could stare down a 30-something skier in the final, with boat speed being the only handicap — meaning, for instance, a score of 4 buoys at 38 off at 32 mph will beat 3 at 38 off at 34 mph.
“This tournament opens the competition up to where women are all competing against each other in one group event,” says tournament director Jeff Gilbert of Little Mountain Lake. “It gives women a reason to train and get excited about staying in the sport. They’ll have a multiround tournament with the opportunity to get into a head-to-head Sweet 16 final. It also gives them a chance to win cash and prizes.”
The cash and prizes will be valued at more than $7,000, donated by sponsors and individuals who believe in this event, which creates a great opportunity for women, Gilbert says. The biggest incentive, though, might just be the initial event, which Gilbert and others hope will be well-received and draw skiers from coast to coast — and beyond — to become a series.
“This event is about doing something good for women in the sport,” Gilbert says. “These women have families, they buy product, and they contribute to our sport. They need to be supported. In turn, they will bring even more women and families into the sport. They will help us increase participation and grow the sport of water skiing.”